Growing up I always looked forward to Chanukah - ok - presents are a cool thing anytime - but I loved getting together with the whole gamily - the "gantze mishpacha" - aunts, uncles, cousins, and of course my grandparents. We trekked to Connecticut to their wonderful home - always tastefully furnished - at the time I though everyone decorated with fine woods and persian rugs and served with silver and china - and had the most memorable Chanukahs ever! We all lined up to light our menorahs at the window and say the brachot (blessings) and then sang Ma Ozur together. My grandfather was a chazzan - and his voice boomed louder and more melodic than everyone else - if I close my eyes I can hear his voice still. Yummy food, gifts galore and dreidel contests - it feels like it was yesterday!
My cousins, aunts and uncles have long since made aliyah to Israel, my grandparents made aliyah as well and even though my grandfather has long since passed away the memories I have of those special times will always remain.